Third Sector At Large: A clarification from the regulator - and rivers of blood at WaterAid

Plus: handbags at dawn as another charitable statue row erupts

Betsiboka: the river, not the meeting room
Betsiboka: the river, not the meeting room

No great surprise that four animal charities, topped by the RSPCA, were among the top 10 attracting complaints to the Charity Commission last year that prompted it to open cases.

Less predictable was that second place, with nine cases, was taken by the Preston Down Trust, the Plymouth Brethren meeting hall in Devon that won a five-year battle to be registered as a charity in 2014. Having obtained the list under freedom of information law, Third Sector duly asked the PDT for comment. Almost overnight came a letter from the commission to "clarify one issue": the complaints actually concerned other gospel halls among the 96 that have registered in the wake of the PDT. The tale confirms two familiar facts: that the Brethren watch their reputation like hawks; and that the commission would rather die than use the words "wrong" or "mistake". In this instance it managed to squeeze out "not correct". Through gritted teeth.

If you deal a lot with toilets, it can help to have a sense of humour. That's why WaterAid - obsessive about sanitation - emphasises its "fun culture" and does stunts like Live at the Apolloo - a day of "sit-down comedy" beside a portaloo at Waterloo station on World Toilet Day in November. And for April Fools Day it made a video about "manpons" - supercharged tampons for men - to draw attention to the more believable fact that 1.25 billion women don't have access to a toilet when menstruating. "Enough to make you see red," as the charity delightfully puts it.

But WaterAid also deals with the more appealing upstream side, as it were, and a visit to the charity's office is an education in fluvial geography. Each meeting room is named after a river, including bog-standard ones like the Thames, the Hudson, the Congo and the Ganges. But have you heard of the Cestos, the Atbara, the Kitakami and the Betsiboka? Oh do keep up - they rise in Guinea, Ethiopia, Japan and Madagascar respectively, as many pub quizzers no doubt know.

Another charitable statue row: last month we had the descendants of the late locomotive designer Sir Nigel Gresley successfully objecting to a mallard being included on a statue of him at King's Cross; now we have a descendant of the late Baroness Thatcher objecting to the absence of her legendary handbag from a statue due to go up this year, possibly in Parliament Square. The Public Memorials Appeal, a charity that has raised £300,000 for the project, is confident it will get its way, but the Iron Lady's daughter Carol is apparently objecting. Handbag or no, there have been warnings that the image will need to be on a six-foot plinth to avoid, er, unwelcome attention.

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